Focus and the Role of Reflective Thinking

            When doing productive work and making effective decisions, total focus is crucial. However, it can be difficult to achieve in the modern world, where distractions abound—not just the annoyances delivered to you by others, but also the self-distractions inherent in an environment where a few taps on your keyboard can deliver a virtual world of distraction far more enjoyable than work. To move beyond the mere enjoyable and do what's right, much less what’s productive and profitable, requires a significant level of mental discipline. When doing productive work and making effective decisions, total focus is crucial. However, it can be difficult to achieve in the modern world, where distractions abound—not just the annoyances delivered … [Read more...]

Boost Your Confidence, Boost Your Performance: Six Simple Ways to Raise Your Self-Assurance

"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation." – Arthur Ashe, professional American tennis player. Even if you're normally an upbeat person, it helps both you and your team when you do little things to boost your confidence. It all comes down to this: when you feel better physically and mentally, you're more confident, and that comes through in your performance. Recent studies have shown that confidence is just as important as ability in achieving tasks. So let's look at a few things you can do to pump up your confidence—some impromptu, some that take a little effort. 1. Get your coffee fix. Seriously. Nothing picks you up like a cup of coffee, especially when you're dragging. Drink a cup of water before or after, since too much … [Read more...]

Making It Stretch: Five Tips for Being More Productive with Less

"I think one key part of doing more with less is to be more strategic, to realize what the objectives you're truly trying to accomplish are, and then to drive with greater focus towards those objectives."– Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, American businesswoman. While it was painful, the recent Great Recession taught us some useful lessons about frugality, hard work, and productivity. It also taught us to be agile, flexible, and fast. Like NASA, the mantra of modern business has become "faster, better, cheaper." We do more with less than any generation of workers before us. The important thing is making sure the lesson sticks—through thick or thin, good times or bad. So in this blog, I'll focus on tips for maintaining high productivity with fewer resources. Here are five favorites: 1. Avoid bus … [Read more...]

Ban Interruptions! Six Ways to Limit Drop-Ins

            Many of the most creative, productive conversations I’ve ever had started as spontaneous, unplanned interruptions. Sometimes we need to interrupt others if we have a customer on the line and need a fast response. If there’s an emergency, your team members must interrupt you; in fact, there are many instances that you want to be interrupted. If you’re a manager, you want your team members to feel welcome to talk with you about anything, and so you unwittingly institute an “open door” policy. Unfortunately, interruptions usually aren’t any of these forms—they are unimportant, extraneous, or simply a way for people not to forget something they are thinking about. If you say to yourself, “I can’t remember the name of that restaurant … [Read more...]

Instant Productivity: Five Ways to Be Immediately Productive in the Morning

Instant Productivity: Just Add Coffee. – Humorous sign, author unknown Short of caffeine, there's no magic elixir you can take to make you productive, or we would all surely be addicted to it. But there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you start making money for the business in minutes after sitting down at your computer, rather than slowly getting up to speed. They range from the imminently practical to the slightly New Ageish, from background preparation to immediate action, but they all work—if you're willing to put them into action. And to borrow from Shakespeare: "Aye, there's the rub." 1. Take care of your health. This one may seem so obvious that it's not even useful. So why, then, do most of us fail so miserably at it? We know we feel better when we take care of our … [Read more...]

My Top 8 Features of the Galaxy S8!

This post Sponsored by Samsung. "One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivityare also the tools of our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we're idling in front of our computer screens."—Joshua Foer, American Journalist I was thrilled to be in attendance as a Samsung Ambassador at the #Unpacked event at the Lincoln Center in NYC on March 29, when Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S8! And lucky me, I was given a shiny new silver S8+ to test. As background, you should understand I have ALWAYS been a Samsung Galaxy owner since the very beginning (remember the slide-out keyboards?). I have never owned any other smartphone by any other manufacturer. And if you’ve never owned a Galaxy, even if you are a die … [Read more...]

Just Doing the Work Isn’t Enough: Four Ways Creativity Matters to Productivity

Whenever you have no blueprint to tell you in detail what to do, you must work artfully. – Rob Austin and Lee Devin, authors of Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artist Work Though most workers let it slip their minds—if they ever think about it at all—Creativity and Productivity have more in common than the six letters both words end with. While the bottom line in the workplace is almost always profit, and you ­can ­achieve productivity without creativity in some cases, your final products are worth far more when you blend creativity with productivity as you work. It goes without saying that in some fields of endeavor, creativity and productivity inextricably intertwine. But even in the most business-oriented venture, creativity should form part of the recipe (← Click … [Read more...]

Leap Before You Look! Four Times When It’s Best to Get Started Without Overthinking

Don't let perfection become an excuse for never getting started. – Marilu Henner, American actress Have you ever felt paralyzed when facing a work project or task, to the point where you just can't seem to make a decision or get started? This can happen for a variety of reasons. You may suffer from perfectionism, from classic over-analysis, or from what I call the tyranny of choice: Sometimes you just have so many options you can't easily choose. And then there's the fable about the donkey between two mangers, who starved to death because the hay in both mangers looked so delicious he couldn't decide which to eat. Animals are too practical to let that happen in real life, but I see similar situations with people all the time. Sometimes I think too much talent and intelligence are a c … [Read more...]

Learning New Tricks: Five Productive Practices Millennials Instinctively Grasp

Millennials don't just want to read the news anymore. They want to know what they can do about it. – Ian Somerhalder, American actor and entrepreneur. In recent years, I've heard managers gripe that Millennials are lazy, needy, entitled narcissists, non-team players with no sense of loyalty. From what I’ve observed in my client organizations, in my personal interactions, and with my own three Millennial children, none of these labels are true. Millennials do indeed have a sense of loyalty—to the causes and the people they care about. Businesses look out for themselves first—why shouldn’t people? More people should have this outlook! You can't expect loyalty when you offer none. The truth in some of the other claims lies in practices Millennials instinctively grasp because of their pe … [Read more...]

The Evenhanded Manager at Work: Four Characteristics of Fairness

"Fairness is not an attitude. It's a professional skill that must be developed and exercised." – Brit Hume, American journalist. Too often, those who rise to positions of power in the white-collar workplace are more concerned with holding tightly to their limited power, rather than liberally sharing trust, responsibility, and empowerment in order to boost that power. They fail to understand a basic reality: that while some people will take advantage of you if you're a laissez-faire manager, most will try harder than ever to prove they've earned what you've willingly offered. Wherever you fall on the managerial scale, realize that fairness and the perception of it are a very big deal to your employees (←click to tweet), determining in large part how willing they are to engage with their … [Read more...]